Why Do We Get Sick in February?
Of course! As soon as I write a post about spring training and baseball, we get another winter storm advisory for Peoria and northern Illinois. Anywhere from 4-8 inches of heavy wet snow are forecasted for tonight. This time of the year, the post-holiday doldrums, are best known for unpredictable weather and the sniffles. This is the time of year when many of us seem to catch colds and flus. Why is that?
Well, the weather doesn't actually cause us to "get sick". We don't get a cold because it happens to be cold outside. We succumb to viral invasions as a result of two simple conditions: 1) there are enough viruses to overwhelm our immune system, and/or 2) our immune system is already less than full strength. A top-capacity human immune system has the capability to fight off any moderately-numbered bacterial or viral invasion, so why at this time of year does the body seem to lack full immunity?
There are several possible reasons.
1) Your body has already struggled through several months of dry weather. Peoria winters usually aren't this cold, but they usually are arid. Your body has strenuously been pouring precious energy resources into conserving fluids. You lose water in many ways during the winter months: unnoticeable sweating, breathing (the escaping warm moisture particles are why you can "see" your breath in the cold air), and tears of joy at Christmas. Your body, therefore, has diverted so much energy to moisture preservation that it has let immune function slide to the back burner. It's important to receive frequent chiropractic adjustments during this period. The immune system has a particular correlation to the nervous system, and, for lack of a better term, is re-energized by the chiropractic adjustment.
2) These are the gray days. Gray clouds, gray snow on the ground, gray roads. All that gray means that the sun has been hiding for a while. The sun is our best source of Vitamin D, which is widely considered to be today's modern miracle drug. Actually, it's a bit of a misnomer to say that the sun gives us Vitamin D, as though it's pouring it into us like a commercial for Sunny Delight. What really happens is the sun's ultraviolet rays help to convert molecules already in our body into Vitamin D. Without the ultraviolet rays, however, we don't get the benefits of Vitamin D. One of the crucial functions of Vitamin D is, believe it or not, immune function stimulation.
3) The holiday season, turn of the calendar year, and early tax season are quite stressful for many people. (Even St. Valentine's day holds it own unique stresses.) When we feel stressed, our bodies automatically lock into fight-or-flight mode. Our hearts race, our muscles clench, our breath quickens, our palms sweat. In neurological terms, our sympathetic nervous system gains dominance over our parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system controls vital survival functions, temporarily decreasing the priority of other organ systems like the digestive system or the immune system. After all, when you're being chased by a bear, the last thing your body needs to worry about is breaking down that peanut butter sandwich. However, after the stresses are over, the body relaxes only to find itself way behind on immune capacity. And that's a prime time for people to "succumb" to infection. That makes it time to remember to have your nervous system examined by your friendly local Peoria Activator chiropractic doctor.
Can you think of any more reasons why you'd get a viral infection this time of year?
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Unless otherwise attributed, all content is written by Kyle Johnson, DC, of Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria.
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Although every effort has been made to provide an accurate description of our chiropractic care and its benefits, the information given on this website and blog is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, medical advice for any condition.
If you have any questions regarding your condition, you should seek the help of Dr. Johnson in person, so that he may properly assess your condition.
This blog is provided by Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria, S.C., proudly located in Peoria, IL.